BY Adrienne Stanley | Feb 16, 2015 07:04 PM EST
On February 16, KBS premiered the medical vampire drama “Blood.” The program opens with Ahn Jae Hyun visiting the ruins of a burial ground while serving as a military doctor. The rookie actor portrays Park Ji Sang, a vampire who attempts to heal humans who are medically fragile rather than consume them.
As the first episode progresses, Ji Sang is mistaken for a criminal, as he attempts to heal a child who has been wounded. “Blood” attempts to portray the contrast between the fragility of humanity and the immortality of vampires from this early scene. As he attempts to evade soldiers, he does not intentionally harm anyone, but only appears to defend himself.
The drama then ventures into territory which is unprecedented in many vampire tales. Ji Sang is depicted as an adolescent, portrayed by Baek Seung Hwan. He is a modern day vampire, whose father Park Hyeon Seo (Ryoo Soo Yeong) is ambushed and killed by the bloodthirsty vampire Lee Jae Wook (Ji Jin Hee).
Ji Sang then seeks solace in the comfort of his mother, who is also a vampire. One of the most poignant moments in the first episode is one where he submits to his blood lust by killing a small deer. His mother looks on, without condemnation or judgment, but with compassion. This sense of empathy from a parent is often lacking in Korean drama but is evident within “Blood.”
Their relatively calm life is turned upside down when the young vampire comes upon a pack of wolves in the forest. The wolves corner a young girl who was walking through the woods with her parents. Ji Sang engages in a violent confrontation with the animals and is able to save the young girl.
While Stephanie Meyer's “Twilight” has depicted wolves as innocent protectors of humans, “Blood” focuses on the feral and viscerally disturbing nature of the animals. However, the scene evokes the tender approach to the supernatural realm that elevated “My Love From The Stars” above other Korean dramas and made “A Werewolf Boy” a story which is uniquely Korean.
Goo Hye Sun does not make an appearance in the early part of the drama but the intensity of this particular scene will be important to the adult depiction of her character.
Jae Wook then begins to pursue Ji Sang and his mother. As the drama depicts the mother-son relationship between the two characters, images from “Twilight” are easily conjured. Ji Sang's mother, Han Seon Yeong, is a gentle woman who attempts to impart as much empathy on her son as possible. As the first episode concludes, she meets her untimely death, leaving Ji Sang to traverse through his existence as a vampire without his family.
The drama returns to the battlefield, where Ahn Jae Hyun returns as an adult vampire who does his best to save the wounded who are struggling to survive in the midst of chaos.
From the first episode, “Blood” has proven its potential to venture past the cliched imagery of vampires that has become ingrained in contemporary literature and media.
Unfortunately, the drama placed third in its time slot, trailing behind "Punch" and "Shine or Go Crazy."
"Blood" airs on Mondays and Tuesdays in the 9:55 p.m. KST time slot.
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